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- For personal luxuries, I’m pretty cheap. But getting the seemingly ridiculous $150 Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit has actually improved my quality of life.
- You can control all your Philips Hue bulbs by an app or by voice using Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant.
- The app lets you set schedules so lights automatically come on at any time of the day and for any specific need (reading, focus, relaxation, etc).
- If you love ambiance, you will love these.
I am probably more surprised to find myself writing a story about how wonderful expensive light bulbs are than you are to find yourself reading it.
As someone who almost exclusively subsisted off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in college without complaint, I can tell you I’m not exactly a high maintenance person. In fact, where my needs are concerned, I’m pretty cheap. I moved myself into my first post-grad apartment using suitcases and Uber pools.
But, I recently got the Philips White Ambiance Starter Kit (currently $144 on Amazon) in a bid to mitigate the many annoyances I had gotten used to living around rather than solving. When you interact with slightly-too-short phone cords and mismatched Tupperware every day, the little things start to add up.
The Philips White Ambiance Starter Kit may seem like a ridiculous, unjustifiable cost, but they’re the best upgrade I’ve made to my apartment all year. They just make life easier and better.
Basically, the kit is made up of four Alexa-compatible, smart light bulbs with many light variations. The kit I got includes four A19 LED bulbs and a Philips bridge (which connects it all). And though the upfront cost is high, it’s nice to note that each bridge should be able to control up to 50 lights – so you won’t have to buy that most expensive piece of tech again if you want to add more Philips accessories to your home to synchronize. You can just buy the (comparatively) much cheaper bulbs.
Installation is as easy as screwing in the light bulbs, downloading the Hue app, and pairing the bulbs to your Hue Bridge (which is included). It took me all of five minutes.
From there, you can control your lights from the app or just by voice control using Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant, and you can set schedules in the app for things like waking up in the morning, going to sleep at night, or making it seem like somebody’s home when you’re out of town for the weekend.
You can also adjust them to very specific needs: energize, read, focus, and relax. And, as you might have guessed given the name “White Ambiance,” you can play with 50,000 shades of white light. If you love anything even remotely “atmospheric,” you will love these, and they are worth it.
- Philips Hue
There are many practical implications of these features for lots of different people, but for me, it made getting up in the morning easier, made me more relaxed, and made me enjoy and love my living space more.
It fixes a common small apartment annoyance; My room has one master switch, so either everything is on or everything is off, unless you use their individual switches. But since my room is small, most outlets are covered by furniture. Having to shut the master switch off to control the lights at the expense of my Amazon Echo and fail-safe alarm weren’t options, so virtually every night I would have to cram my hand behind my dresser to click the light off. I can’t explain how nice it is to be able to control the lights from an app or by voice commands – even dimming.
It also means that I can be in my space for virtually every mood – I can use bright lights for reading, and varied levels of dimmed for activities like relaxing, watching a movie, or lulling myself to sleep.
- Philips Hue
I don’t get a ton of natural light in the heart of NYC, and I was missing the little joy of waking up to sunlight. I set a schedule in the app, though, and now I wake up to my favorite type of warm light every morning at the same time. It actually puts me in a better mood. And it’s nice to have that be the first thing I notice rather than just the Alexa alarm.
And since it makes waking up early feel more natural (and much less gloomy), I’ve felt better about getting up early for workouts. I still rely on (healthy) pre-workout to actually get me going, but the mimicked sunlight gets me out of bed much more consistently.
So, all in all, even though these light bulbs are definitely more expensive than anything I would have normally bought for myself, they’ve absolutely been worth it for me. They’ve also functioned as a nice lesson that sometimes just judging things by how cheap they are kills the very necessary fun of “joie de vivre.” When it almost laughably affects your quality of life, it’s really not so hard to justify.
If you appreciate mood lighting, waking up to sunlight-like light instead of just your alarm, or are similarly cramming your hand behind your bedside table every night just to turn off the lights, I really recommend the Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit. Even at $144, it’s one of the best value buys I made for my apartment in the last year. Sometimes, it’s worth it to spend a little more for a lot more comfort.